What Does It Take To Feel Good About A Negotiation?

Satisfaction is what it's all about
Satisfaction is what it’s all about
Image Credit: nz_willowherb

So here’s an interesting question for you: what is the goal of your next negotiation. Yes, yes, I know that you want to walk away from the table with a good deal (and so does the other side), but is that really your goal for the negotiations? Do you think that it would be possible to walk away from the table with a good deal and still be unhappy (hint: yes, it is possible). Given that this can happen, what should our goal be?

It’s All About Satisfaction

When the negotiating is done, the deal has been reached, the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques put away, and we’re walking away from the table, there is a fundamental question that needs to be asked: how do we feel. Not only does it matter how we feel, but it is also very important to determine how the other side of the table feels. They may have gotten the deal that they set out to get, but it they are not happy then there will be trouble ahead. We have a word that describes being happy after a negation is over and done with: satisfaction.

The reason that satisfaction is such a critical part of every negotiation is because how we feel about the results of a negotiation has a lot to deal with how the negotiations will turn out. If we can find a way to get the other side to feel satisfied with the outcome, then we have a much better chance that they will implement what has been agreed to. There is also a better chance that they won’t come back to you wanting to make changes to the deal that has been created.

Another reason that satisfaction is so very important in a negotiation is because the negotiation that you are currently involved in is probably not going to be the last one that you’ll have with the other side. There will be more to come. How they feel about the outcome of this negotiation will play a big role in how they will approach all future negotiations with you. You want them to be satisfied with this negotiation so that they’ll be willing to negotiate with you again in the future.

How To Make Satisfaction Happen In Your Next Negotiation

So what’s the secret to ensuring that the other side walks away from your negotiation with a feeling of satisfaction? It turns out that the answer is that you are going to have to make sure that they work for the deal that they are going to get. If when they sit down to negotiate with you, you agree to all of their demands, they are initially going to be thrilled – they’ve gotten what they wanted!

However, later on when they’ve had a chance to think about how the negotiation went, they are going to have regrets. What’s going to happen is that they are going to think that you agreed to what they asked for too quickly. What they really should have done was to ask for more. This is when regret will start to take over and they’ll view the negotiations with you as having not turned out well for them even though they got everything that they had asked for.

Another factor that can influence just how much satisfaction the other side gets out of a negotiation has to do with time. They are going to be closely watching how quickly you react to their offers. If you come back very quickly and accept what they have offered to you, then you are going to be contributing to their sense of dissatisfaction. They are going to think that they should have asked for more. If, instead, you take your time in getting back to them and seem reluctant to agree with what they have proposed, then when you do finally agree to it they will feel as though they “earned” it and will be satisfied.

What All Of This Means For You

It can be all too easy to believe that what it takes for a principled negotiation to turn out well is to simply get a deal that you can live with. It turns out that you can get what you want from a negotiation and still end up feeling dissatisfied with the results of a negotiation. What’s missing is a feeling of satisfaction.

During a negotiation we need to become aware of how the others side of the table feels about the deal that we are working on. We need to make sure that they feel satisfied with the outcome of the negotiation. How the other side feels about the outcome will determine how willing they will be to implement the agreement that you’ve reached with them. You want them to be satisfied because you will probably be negotiating with them again in the future. The way that you make the other side become satisfied with the results is that you make them work to get the outcome. You don’t want them to regret the deal after they’ve signed it. Remember that how quickly you respond to their proposals will play a role in how satisfied the other side ends up being.

Taking the time to think about how you want the other side to feel about the deal that you are trying to reach with them. You want them to be satisfied and so that means that you are going to have to invest some time to allow them to spend time trying to convince you to agree to a deal that you already want. Focus on how you can make the other side satisfied and you’ll be able to walk away with a deal that everyone will be excited to support and implement.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: What should you do if you reach the end of a negotiation and the other side does not appear to be satisfied with the deal on the table?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As we prepare to start our next negotiation, more often than not we are focused on what we think that all of our negotiation styles and negotiating techniques are going to be help us to get the deal that we want from the other side of the table. This is a valid thought; however, it’s not what is going to get us to the deal that we’re looking for. Instead, it’s what we’re going to be willing to give up to the other side that will make the deal happen.